Faculty, staff and students are very busy each year attending local, regional, national, and international conferences, meetings and festivals. Many of the faculty, staff, and students have ongoing relationships with Aboriginal leaders and organizations, and the reciprocal relationships are evident throughout the Faculty.
These relationships and partnerships FNS has with Aboriginal Communities, directly or indirectly, create value for our students as they grow in knowledge through our institution and move on to employment or graduate studies.
The Faculty’s mission
To CONNECT with COMMUNITIES is one of the benchmarks reported on each year.
- Interact and connect with Communities (locally, nationally, & globally) --- community visits; research partnerships; learning partnerships; events; national programs; research dissemination; and conferences.
- Dissemination of the relevance of Indigenous perspectives --- conferences; speaking engagements; book launches, publications.
- Elder in residence program --- Elder visits, talks, contributions (funded through our Elders Endowment)
We also regularly highlight Alumni contributions, and profile student successes. We encourage Volunteerism from our Community, and from Current Faculty, Students and Staff.
Relationships & Partnerships
The Faculty is involved in various teaching and research partnerships with the goals of strengthening community cohesion. As evidence, we currently have two MOU’s in place with the following Organizations:
Rupertsland Institute --- to create an Academic Institute called the Rupertsland Centre for Metis Research (RCMR)
Dechinta Bush University Partnership --- Dechinta is a northern-led initiative delivering land-based, University of Alberta-credited educational experiences led by northern leaders, experts, elders and professors to engage northern and southern youth in a transformative curricula based on the cutting-edge needs of Canada’s North.
The Dechinta experience is an educational experience like no other. Located off the grid in a remote eco-lodge accessible only by bush plane, snowmobile or dog team, learning from the land while living in community is central to the Dechinta experience. Gather under the northern lights to discuss Dene Political Theory around a fire. Ski or canoe to check fish nets, and gain hands on experience about ecosystems management. Collect medicines and learn regional history from expert elders. Contemplate the importance of land to community and life with a diverse group of students, volunteers and elders. Live in log cabins heated by woodstove, and enjoy amenities such as a sauna, hot tub, and organic gardens. Hunting, fishing and wild harvesting are integrated into the curriculum, led by dynamic and diverse faculty with direct experience in research and leadership in the subject areas.
Cree language Service: A unique offering focusing on bringing Cree language instruction to the wider Edmonton community.
An example, the Cree language instructor participated in creating a Cree Linguistics Atlas, a map that shows how different phrases are said in different Cree languages and dialects across Canada. We are working together with faculty at Carleton University and the University of Lethbridge.
The Cree language instructor also assists with translation services, input and feedback on the Cree language and cultural protocols for students and faculty in FNS, other Faculties, the Canadian Indigenous Language and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI), and Aboriginal Communities.
The Faculty was successful in obtaining a large grant to provide funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Aboriginal Research Programme called the “Good Relations for Cree Language Education in Alberta.”
The project was led by the former Dean Ellen Bielawski, to support the initial creation of the Little Cree Books project. Other Contributors to the project were Caylie Gnyra (former student), Mary Cardinal-Collins (Elder/ Language Consultant), Dorothy Thunder (Cree Instructor), Dr. Nathalie Kermoal (faculty member), and Dr. Val Napoleon (former faculty member); all have provided support and encouragement along the way.
The project continues on a volunteer basis, for more information see Little Cree Books.
Community Service-Learning (CSL)
Community Service-Learning (CSL) encapsulates the University’s commitments to learning, discovery, and citizenship, and to connecting communities (Dare to Discover). FNS offers Curricular Service-Learning programs that see students involved in projects that are directly part of, and relevant to academic coursework.
Who our students volunteer with
Working with Community Service Learning, FNS fourth year undergraduate (NS 430) and master’s students (NS 550) are volunteering 20 and 30 hours respectively with 13 organizations, some of which are:
- Treaty 8
- First Nations of Alberta
- Metis Settlements Appeal Tribunal
- Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women
- Royal Alberta Museum
- Boyle McCauley Health Centre
- and the Edmonton Inuit Cultural Society.
Student Association, Groups and Councils
FNS is dedicated to providing our students with a student-centered, community engaged experience. We feel that this provides a common ground for all students, regardless of ethnic background, to learn, research, explore, and critically examine the historical and contemporary circumstances and experiences of Native peoples and communities, and their relationships with Canada and other countries. FNS encourages students to participate with student groups as part of their University experience. The Faculty has their very own student group.
Native Studies Students' Association
N.S.S.A. serves the needs of students in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and students enrolled in Native Studies courses.
Located: Room 2-30 Pembina Hall
Check out the N.S.S.A.Website
Other Groups on campus that FNS students/faculty/staff are involved with: